Saturday, 23 March 2019

Taichung Earthquake Museum

We have moved from the bottom of Taiwan to the centre, left hand side. The city is called Taichung and the guidebooks say that there is little here to catch the eye. I have to agree that this is true, but it would have been a shame not to see more of the country, so here we are.
In 1999 a 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit this area and a faultline that was 100 kilometres long opened up.
We caught a bus to the museum to find out more about it. The museum is centred around a school that straddled the faultline.

They have built a roof over the original school buildings which all just completely collapsed and folded in on itself. Fortunately the earthquake happened in the middle of the night so the school was empty.
The most amazing thing was that when the fault cracked open it pushed the earth up over two metres on one side at area around the school, but up to ten metres higher further down the faultline.
It went along a stream, straight across the school running track, under the school and then the town.

It's a bit difficult to see in this picture, but that used to be a flat running track. The fault also ran through tea plantations where the straight lines of the bushes turned into wavy lines, and the same thing happened to railway lines. It caused a 100 km line of devastation and killed over 2,000 people.
We went into a simulation room and sat down on the padded floor while they recreated the 40 second earthquake. It was terrifying and amazing that anyone survived.
Afterwards we found a place called the Dali Art Plaza which we thought might be about Salvador Dali, but I think not. We never did find out anything about the background  but it had some good and rather large exhibits.

Ps, found the first Christmas tree of 2019! Actually I think that it is there permanently .

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Heart of Love River and Lotus Pond

Beautiful sunny day today and we borrowed bikes from our hotel to cycle along the river Love. What an excellent name, and we cycled to the Heart area.

I had a little break on the way, relaxing on a brick settee in a surprising all brick living room scene. I don't know how they made it, but I would love to have one in my garden at home.

Our destination was the Lotus Pond, which turned out to be more of a lake. We cycled around it and on then to three incredible temples, all surrounded by lotus flowers.
I know nothing about the background to the temples, why you walk in through the dragon's or tiger's mouth, through it's body and then out by the tail. There were no signs, no entrance fee and no staff around, and only a few other tourists.
Completely amazing place.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Fun in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

We arrived in Taiwan, got off the plane from Japan and were pleased to be able to kick off our boots and coats, get out the sandals and teeshirts and start a new adventure.
We had never heard of Kaohsiung, but it is right at the bottom of Taiwan, and we have ten days to get to Taipei which is at the top of the country, and catch our flight out.
That makes it sound a bit like a military manoeuvre, but it is actually going to be a happy dawdle around with a few train and bicycle rides thrown in.

We started our day with a walk around the old port area and disused train sidings.

It has all been turned into a open air sculpture park and in the evenings the tracks light up.
Next we caught the ten minute ferry to an island across the bay, and found that they hired out electric bikes. Daz was a bit of a crazy driver, but we made it to the lighthouse, Fort, cave and lots of interesting sculptures along the seafront.

Back on the mainland we were a bit hot and tired, but after a stop for the local speciality, a giant shaved ice, condensed milk, chocolate and fruit desert, we were raring to go again.